The 50th Anniversary of HTOEC

More than 100,000 students have participated in the HTOEC program since its inception.

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It is Fall in the mountains! Many of you are aware of our feelings about Spring in the mountains—puny little flowers and mud, mud, mud. But the Fall season here at camp makes up for the shortcomings of our Spring. Golden Aspen leaves against the bright blue sky (most of us believe that the sky is bluer in Colorado than anywhere else) create this magical lighting effect that happens only in the Fall. We are truly fortunate to be surrounded by such beauty and we wish you were here to enjoy it with us.

We are not hoarding the scenery for ourselves. Right now 200 6th graders, along with their teachers and 40 high-school age counselors each week from School District 20 in Colorado Springs are exploring our meadows and forests as part of the High Trails Outdoor Education Program. This program, founded by Sandy and Jerry in 1967, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. More than 100,000 students have participated in the HTOEC program since its inception.

There are many unique aspects of our program that differentiate it from most other outdoor education centers. First of all, we provide an innovative, role-playing curriculum written and constantly updated by COEC staff. Our Discovery Groups include Prospectors, where students learn earth science by going on a “Quartz Rush”; Trappers, who learn ecology by rediscovering the plants and animals in our area; Woodsmen, who explore the forests; and Homesteaders, who travel to the Quick Homestead and experience the life of early pioneers. We have a dozen different Discovery Groups based on natural science and local history, and teachers choose which classes they want their students to experience. Our curriculum meets Colorado Academic Standards.

Secondly, we developed a leadership training program for high school students who are selected by their schools to serve as counselors at High Trails. Many of these students participate in a day-long leadership seminar taught by COEC staff early in September. They are also mentored constantly by our staff during their time at the center.

And lastly, each fall and spring we have an amazing group of HTOEC staff who work with District teachers to lead the Discovery Groups, create community in the cabins, inspire the high school counselors, and provide enthusiastic leadership for all of the evening and recreational programs.

We hope that you are having a wonderful Fall. And, if you would like to experience a bit of our season at camp, please check out our new website which has stunning photos, fun videos, and an active alum section. You can also join us on Facebook where we are currently posting photos of our golden Aspen and blue skies!

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Ariella Rogge
About Ariella Rogge

Ariella started her career at Sanborn when she was twelve. After five years of camper and five years of Sanborn staff experience, she continued her work with kids in the high school classroom. Ariella and her family returned to Sanborn in 2001 to take on the Program Director role which she held til 2012. She and Elizabeth Marable became co-directors of High Trails in 2013 and then Ariella became the High Trails Director in 2020. In the fall of 2022 she became the Director of Sanborn Western Camps, overseeing the director teams of both Big Spring and High Trails. She lists mountain golf, Gymkhana, climbing mountains and making Pad Thai in the backcountry as some of her favorite activities at camp. Ariella received a B.A. in English from Colorado College and is a certified secondary English educator,an ACCT Level 2 Ropes Course Technician, an ARC lifeguard and NREMT and WEMT. She lives in Florissant in the summer and in Green Mountain Falls during the school year so she can stay involved with the busy lives of her husband, Matt, and two teenage sons, Lairden and Karsten.